It is that time of the year again and our bright college students are ready to take the corporate world by storm. Do not make the mistake of thinking that interns are there to do all the work you do not want to do. Their job is not to get your coffee or pick up lunch!
As much as they have the zeal and are willing, what we must know is that they are inexperienced. Interns’ goals are generally to gain valuable work experience, in an industry that interests them, while they are still in school, or just recently graduated. This is our time to impact them positively!
Create a specific job description
Have a plan and lay it out clearly before they begin. That way, when they start, they have a good understanding of what tasks they will have and what they are expected to do.
Also, ensure they have someone to shadow so they can hit the ground running. Make sure you give interns work that will help them learn your industry, and expand their skill sets
Keep Them in the Loop
Provide interns with complete transparency on company initiatives, even if it does not relate to their job spec or day-to-day tasks. Rather than just assigning tasks, make sure your team takes the time to explain the larger picture (even if they might not be there to see the full project through). By doing so, they will gain a better understanding of the business and will be better suited to contribute to the company in more substantial ways.
Be clear about compensation
This can be tricky, because laws and expectations are different. For example, some interns are paid a small wage, or at least have their expenses covered. Others work for free. Manage their expectations and be clear on the benefits.
Establish the length of the internship
Be clear about how long the internship will last. Most internships last between two and six months.
Give plenty feedback
Communication is key, so be sure to give plenty of feedback and allow lots of space for their own ideas and comments — a fresh pair of eyes can be invaluable! Interns won’t be at your organisation for very long, so it is vital to explain not only how to do tasks, but also why those tasks are important. Step in to help as soon as you think they are going in the wrong direction.
Keep them motivated
Remember why interns are really there: TO LEARN. Giving them opportunities to learn, or projects that will look great on their résumés, can be a great way of motivating them. Ask them where they would derive the most value for their time spent with you, and seek to arrange a place on a project team in the areas that most interest and drive them.
“Interns shine when they’re asked to do things they’re passionate about. Spend time gauging their interests in different aspects of your business and train them in those areas for the best results! ” ~ Alexis Wolfer, TheBeautyBean.com